Reading has been a popular form of entertainment for centuries. A good book invites readers to watch a true story unfold before their eyes or to explore fictitious worlds where anything can happen and dreams become realities. The diversity of available genres ensures that individuals perusing library shelves and bookstores can often quickly find something that piques their curiosity or matches their areas of interest.
At Park Regency Thornton, we know that pleasure and knowledge aren't the only reasons for seniors to consider increasing the amount they read. Studies have proven avid readers enjoy reduced risks of dementia, lower levels of stress and improved focus and concentration. Here are just a few more benefits of reading regularly our residents can enjoy today.
Picturing characters and scenes described within a book stretches our imagination and helps develop our visualization skills.
This can make it easier to think outside the box when we encounter problems and help us envision detailed plans and potential outcomes.
Giving our imagination a workout also boosts our ability to express ourselves through artistic endeavors such as painting, writing and photography.
The expression "walk a mile in their shoes" has been around for generations and is meant to make us stop and consider the entire situation before we judge someone else.
Being able to understand another person's actions and feelings is a key part of forming good friendships, forgiving those who have wronged us and recognizing the needs of others.
However, it can be hard to empathize with a circumstance we've haven't faced or understand a point of view that doesn't coincide with our beliefs. Reading stories with a cast of well-written characters gives us the chance to see inside another person's thoughts and consider emotions beyond our own.
This not only helps to increase our empathy for others, but it raises our awareness of the world around us. A story about the harsh realities of homelessness, for example, can inspire us to participate in local food and clothing drives, while a novel starring a soldier stationed overseas may motivate us to send care packages or thank you cards to the men and women in our own armed forces.
Though reading is often a solo activity, it opens the door to many social opportunities. Book clubs and reading groups let seniors form new friendships while they discuss some of their favorite stories with others who share similar interests.
These conversations provide individuals the chance to relive a book's pivotal moments in a group setting and experience the story in a new way.
These groups also give seniors the chance to invite others from the community to join in. Talking about their love of reading with neighbors or their families can help seniors influence those around them to read. Their passion on the topic can potentially inspire their loved ones to pick up a book in their free time and reap the benefits for their own lives and health.